28 / June
28 / June
Iraq War Debate

My post on America's increasing view that going to war in Iraq was a mistake has become a minor point of debate in the blogosphere. Mike Krempasky and Tom Crowe have weighed in, and well, they don't like what I have to say--in some instances, they don't even like what they imagine me saying. Read their sites, and my response on Crowe's site to his piece, and judge for yourself.

On weapons of mass destruction, Krempasky admits: "Not a real issue for me, I wanted [Saddam] croaked on principle." First, Krempasky doesn't make policy. Those who did make the policy certainly thought WMD was a big issue--arguably the biggest issue--in making the case to invade Iraq. Second, Krempasky claims he wanted Saddam "croaked on principle." On what principle? There's a lot of world leaders that we'd be better off without. Is an evil tyrant running a country halfway around the world sufficient cause for sacrificing American lives and taxdollars in a nation-building scheme, particularly when more than 90 percent of that country's citizens see us as occupiers?

Tom Crowe reminds me of Kevin Bacon's ROTC-cadet character during the closing mayhem of Animal House. "Remain calm. All is well." Among his more curious statements are that the situation in Iraq is "hardly anarchy" and that "Iraqis are, in fact, now free." They're liberated from the butcher Hussein and better off, but free? I hope the future holds freedom for the Iraqis, but the present unfortunately doesn't. He calls Saddam Hussein "a benefactor of Al Qaeda" (Is this something you slip in a post without documentation?). Finally, he contends that charges of Iraqi WMD are "not our resposibility to prove."

And I guess that's my quarrel with supporters of the Iraq war in a nutshell. They believe it's not their responsibility to prove anything. From fantasies of a 9/11-Iraqi conspiracy to tales of Hussein attempting to purchase uranium from Niger to massive stockpiles of WMD that haven't been found and more importantly weren't used in the war, so many of the arguments for going to war collapse under the weight of facts--inconvenient facts, but facts nonetheless.

posted at 01:19 AM

You might have noticed that I've been giving you an almost inhospitable amount of flack on your own blog for your political views, but I have to say that your honesty and courage on this Iraq issue has really made me respect your views. A conservative of your type, one who is able too see through the propoganda and admit the truth is a true asset to this country.

Posted by: Dan Barkeley on June 28, 2004 01:51 AM

Thanks for your posts, Dan. Good name too.

Too many people let ideology rather than the facts do their thinking. This is the subject of my next book. Unfortunately, many people I respect, read, and admire have fallen into this trap over Iraq. I'm a bit perplexed how "nation-building"--a concept denounced by Bush and his conservative followers in campaign 2000--is now so heavily embedded in the rhetoric of Bush and his conservative followers today.

Posted by: Dan Flynn on June 28, 2004 02:17 AM

Imagine you saying? You're sticking by the anarchy line, I'm calling bullshit on that one.

Words matter. Are you really trying to make the case that anarchy exists in Iraq?


Absence of any form of political authority.
Political disorder and confusion.
Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

I don't think so. That same majority of Iraqis are glad we went there - happy for what we did.

I'm not sure what sort of points you're trying to score by pointing out that some percentage of the Iraqis think we're occupiers.

Well. Duh. We are occupying that country. Who said otherwise? Not me, that's for sure.

I don't make policy. There's a tautology for ya. I wrote my opinion. For the record - I think when a leader is killing tens of thousands of people every year, then it's worth American lives to stop it.

But it's a nifty trick to say, my opponents "don't even like what they imagine me saying" and in the same breath make some goofy claim about 9/11 or Niger that appears nowhere on my blog.

Posted by: Mike Krempasky on June 28, 2004 08:24 AM

I don't necessarily agree with all your views, Dan, but you have a pretty kick-ass blog.

At least you're not going off into left-field with an "anybody but bush" button on your site like a regional blogger whose name shall not be mentioned but rhymes with Harry Dorito.

I will agree that many of the reasons for war have proven to not be as strong as previously thought. We have founds some shells with sarin, etc., but certainly not warehouses full of em and long-range missile ready to launch them. That said, I'm not one to think waiting til an imminent threat a la the Cuban Missile Crisis is the sort of foreign policy we want to be engaged in post-9/11.

I think the Bushies took strange detours in the leadup to war, including "preemptive strike" language which took us down strange rabbit trails. The fact is that the war with Iraq was on hold, not concluded, from 1991-2003 and that armistice was contingent upon complete and verified disarmament from WMD by the Baathist regime. Hussein failed to deliver and so he was taken out of power. Simple as that, no need to complicate matters beyond that.

Did Saddam let the world and his own people believe the WMD threat was much greater than it actually was? Most likely, or so it appears now. The widespread belief that there were WMD was certainly a deterrant, for 12 years at least, from full prosecution of war to the end of toppling his regime, and his WMD threat held his own civilian population in line.

He may have not had enough weaponized WMD to use against uprisings or attempted coups, but the opposition leaders had no clue that that was the case.

Posted by: Ken Shepherd on June 28, 2004 10:58 AM

And you might want to ease the ad hominems, Dan. I'm just reading a few of these debates now, and those alone are pushing me to file you under "jerk" and ignore your arguments.

Posted by: GE on June 28, 2004 10:59 AM

C'mon, Dan. Any reasonable person reading that post draws the same conclusion.

1) you said something
2) we (Tom and I) responded
3) here you respond to both of us. First - specifically, then generally.

I have every reason to believe that you, in responding first to me, and then making claims about Iraq war supporters in general are *at the very least* attempting to associate me with other positions in order to make a more sweeping dismissal in general.

Tis ok, of course. Not that you've answered my original question: how free is free?

"in the same breath" can easily read, "in the same post".

Oh - the Niger claim is looking up. ;)

Posted by: Mike Krempasky on June 28, 2004 09:18 PM
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